Wrestling at Cliff Keen Invite Day Two - PETERKIN ADVANCES TO FINALS

LAS VEGAS – Good morning and welcome to Day Two of the Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas. Penn has five wrestlers still in contention at the tournament, including Rollie Peterkin and Cesar Grajales who are in the semifinals at 125 and 149 pounds respectively.

At 9:00 a.m. PST, consolation rounds will begin with Bryan Ortenzio (133), Matt Dragon (157) and Zack Shanaman (165) all in action.

Here are Penn’s first matchups for each wrestler still competing:

125 pounds - #1 Rollie Peterkin vs. #4 Jarrod Garnett (Virginia Tech) – Championship Semis

133 pounds - #11 Bryan Ortenzio vs. #5 T.J. Dillishaw (Cal-State Fullerton) – Wrestlebacks

149 pounds - #5 Cesar Grajales vs. #1 Darrion Caldwell (N.C. State) – Championship Semis

157 pounds - #9 Matt Dragon vs. #7 Tyler Safratowich (Minnesota) – Wrestlebacks

165 pounds - #4 Zack Shanaman vs. #11 Scott Glasser (Minnesota) – Wrestlebacks

As a team, Penn is 11th overall out of 44 teams with 46 points. The Quakers trail tournament-leading Nebraska, which has 74 points.

We will be back after the first round of consolation bouts with results from Penn wrestlers.

9:33 a.m. PST – Matt Dragon moved on to the next round of consolation wrestlebacks and clinched at least an eighth-place finish with an 11-10 decision over Minnesota’s Tyler Safratowich. Dragon controlled the early going, scoring a takedown 0:47 into the bout and scoring two more points with a near fall off atight-waistturn at the end of the first period. With the second period starting neutral, Safratowich took Dragon down with 30 seconds left in the period, but Dragon rolled through off a restart with five seconds left in the second for a 6-2 lead entering the final period. Safratowich took to letting Dragon escape via optional starts in the final period and was able to score four takedowns, but Dragon’s 1:46 of riding time from the first period proved to be the difference.

Dragon will wrestle another Big Ten opponent, Jason Johnstone of Ohio State in the next round of wrestlebacks. Johnstone was the sixth seed entering the tournament.

Bryan Ortenzio and Zack Shanaman both lost their wrestleback matches and are eliminated. Ortenzio dropped a 14-3 major decision to Cal-State Fullerton’s T.J. Dillashaw. Ortenzio scored first in the bout with a single leg shot 25 seconds into the match, but from then on it was all Dillashaw as he scored two takedowns, two separate three-point nearfalls and a reversal for the win.

Shanaman fell to Minnesota’s Scott Glasser, 7-1. Glasser scored a takedown with three seconds left in the first period to open the scoring. With Shanaman starting on bottom in the second, Glasser was able to turn him for two backpoints and a 4-0 lead with a minute gone in the second. Glasser chose neutral to start the third and scored a takedown for a 6-1 lead. Riding time gave Glasser the 7-1 win.

Championship semifinals are coming up in 15 minutes ...

10:16 a.m. PST – Rollie Peterkin advances to the final at 125 pounds with a 12-5 decision of Jarrod Garnett of Virginia Tech. Peterkin will face Zachary Sanders of Minnesota in tonight’s championship bout.

Garnett opened the scoring with a takedown 0:38 into the match on the edge of the mat. Peterkin got a point back with an escape immediately. Garnett scored again for two points and a 4-1 lead, but Peterkin reversed with 1:41 to go in the period to get back within one point. Peterkin was then able to turn Garnett for two back points at the end of the period and a 5-4 lead entering the second frame.

In the second period, Peterkin started on bottom and was able to escape 15 seconds into the period. Both men scrambled looking for takedowns the remainder of the period, but no points were scored.

Peterkin widened the gap in the third with a takedown with 1:10 to go. Both men were in on the legs but it was Peterkin who moved around and pulled in both of his opponent’s legs for two. With 45 ticks remaining in the match, Peterkin scored three back points with a Churella or ball and chain – throwing his legs around and reaching the under the elbow and pulling back for the nearfall. A penalty point was awarded to Garnett as Peterkin locked his hands in the course of the move, but it did not affect the result as Peterkin’s riding time gave him the 12-5 decision.

11:02 a.m. PST – Cesar Grajales dropped a tough 4-1 decision to Darrion Caldwell of N.C. State in the semifinals at 149 pounds. Caldwell is the number one seed in the tournament and a returning NCAA All-American. After neither man could score in the first period, Caldwell escaped from bottom position in the second and added a takedown for two more points soon after. Grajales did manage an escape in the final seconds of the period to get within two. Caldwell was too tough on top in the third period, riding Grajales out for the full two minutes for the riding time point.

Grajales will wrestle in the consolation semifinals later.

Matt Dragon stayed alive at 157 with a 7-3 decision over sixth-seeded Jason Johnstone of Ohio State. Dragon scored first in the opening period with a takedown and then three backpoints. He rode Johnstone out for the last two minutes of the period to accumulate a good riding time advantage. Dragon escaped from bottom position with 40 seconds left in the second period for a 6-0 lead. Johnstone was able to counter a late Dragon shot into two points of his own, but it was not enough.

Dragon moves on to wrestle fourth-seeded Adam Hall of Boise State in the consolation semifinals later this afternoon. Hall is the tenth-ranked 157-pounder in the country to Dragon’s ranking of No. 17.

Grajales will wrestle Jake Patascil of Purdue, the fourth seed in the tournament and the ninth-ranked wrestler at 149 in the country. Grajales is the fifth seed and is ranked 14th.

12:31 p.m. PST – Cesar Grajales and Matt Dragon were both just defeated in their consolation semifinal matches. Grajales lost 7-6 on riding time to Jake Patascil of Purdue. Grajales had a 5-3 lead after two periods, but Patascil started on top in the third and was able to tilt Grajales for three points. A late escape from Grajales tied the match, but 1:30 of riding time gave the deciding point to Patascil.

Dragon was never able to get much going against Adam Hall, trailing 6-2 after one period and ultimately losing via major decision, 14-3.

Both men will wrestle for fifth place.

The three placewinners Penn will have in this tournament are the most since 2006 when Penn had five men reach the podium. Last year, Rollie Peterkin finished in third at 125 and Lior Zamir placed eighth at 184.

Peterkin is the first finalist for Penn since 2006 when Matt Valenti and Matt Herrington reached the finals.

1:32 p.m. PST – Cesar Grajales and Matt Dragon both finished sixth in the tournament after dropping sudden victory decisions in their fifth-place matches.

Grajales lost to Trevor Chinn of Lehigh, 3-1. Neither man scored in the first and Grajales drew first blood with an escape in the second. Chinn countered with an escape early in the third period. In the sudden victory period, Chinn scored the win with a takedown seconds into the extra period.

Dragon and Chase Pami of Cal Poly also went to sudden victory where Pami scored a takedown and back points for an 8-3 win. After a scoreless first period, Pami escaped to start the second and then scored two points with a takedown. With 40 seconds left in the period, Dragon reversed for two points to get back in the bout. Dragon tied up the match with an escape from bottom position to start the third period. Pami had the best chance in the extra period and scored for the win.

Wrestling is finished for the afternoon session. We will be back with the championship finals, featuring Rollie Peterkin at 125 pounds at 5:00 p.m. PST.

4:30 p.m. PST – We are a half hour away from the start of the championship bouts at the 2008 Cliff Keen Invitational, and Rollie Peterkin will take part in the 125 pound title tilt against Zachary Sanders of Minnesota.

Peterkin enters the bout with a record of 8-1 on the season. Sanders is 15-0. Both men are ranked in the InterMat polls at 125 pounds, with Peterkin ranked sixth and Sanders coming in at No. 19. In the Cliff Keen seedings, Peterkin is the top seed while Sanders was seeded sixth.

Here is how Peterkin arrived at the finals:

Round 1: def. Cory Borges (Montana State), 10-2

Round 2: def. Akif Eren (Purdue), 7-2

Quarters: def. #8 Ben Kjar (Utah Valley), 9-4

Semis: def. #4 Jarrod Garnett (Va. Tech), 12-5

Here is Sanders’ road to the finals:

Round 1: def. Alan Bartelli (Boise St.), 21-6

Round 2: def. #11 Brandon Zoetewey (Cal-State Bakersfield), 6-3

Quarters: def. Marcos Orozco (Cal Davis), 9-1

Semis: def. #2 Anthony Robles (Arizona St.), 7-3

Peterkin’s bout should be the first on the mat so we will update as soon as that match is completed. If you want live coverage of the match, you can go to www.intermatwrestle.com or www.takedownradio.com and look for the “Listen Live” link.

5:28 p.m. PST - ROLLIE WINS!!!!

With a 10-6 decision in the finals of the 125 pound weight class over Zach Sanders, Rollie Peterkin is the 2008 Cliff Keen Invitational champion. Peterkin scored the first takedown of the match at the 0:45 mark and quickly turned Sanders for two back points and a 4-0 lead after the first period. In the second period, Peterkin started on the bottom and escaped at the 3:08 mark of the match for a 5-0 lead. He added a takedown 39 seconds later for a 7-0 lead. The two started neutral in the final period and Sanders went on the offensive. He scored three takedowns in the final period, but could not close the gap as Peterkin took the match and the title.

That is all from Vegas. I am going to take some time to write a full recap which will be available on www.PennAthletics.com later tonight.